The Invitation (2022)

Originally titled The BrideThe Invitation does a good job of retelling Dracula without telegraphing where it’s heaing.

Evelyn “Evie” Jackson (Nathalie Emmanuel) may be a struggling artist but she sees that she’s meant for more. By struggling, I mean she’s less an artist and more a waitress for a catering company. At one of the parties she serves, she takes a DNA kit and tests herself.

A week later, she learns that she’s from a rich family from England and meets her cousin Oliver Alexander (Hugh Skinner) and hears the story of her great-grandmother, Emmaline Alexander and the secret child she jad with a black footman/ Oliver invites Evie to an upcoming family wedding in England and meet her secret family tree.

When she arrives at the Carfax Estate, she learns that all of the upper crust are quite snooty and outright abusive to the hired help when just days ago, Evie would have been one of the people serving them. She gets to know the two bridesmaids, Lucy (Alana Boden) and Viktoria (Stephanie Corneliussen), and the lord of all this, Walter De Ville (Thomas Doherty), even better.

Of course, what with all the young female hired help getting killed all over the house, it turns out that Viktoria and Lucy are Walter’s vampire brides and Evie is the one that will complete the set, as at one point, hergreat-grandmother had married Walter, lived as a vampire and killed herself over her self-hatred over needing to drink the blood of human beings. Meanwhile, three rich families have kept Walter. known as “The Son of the Dragon” and maybe Dracula, in power.

Directed by Jessica M. Thompson and written by Blair Butler, The Invitation is a fine modern vampire movie. I’d love to see the R-rated cut as well as the two alternate endings, but that’s why physical media is still so important.

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